2. Original roots of horror
Often cited as the 'granddaddy of all horror films', The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari
(1919) is an eerie exploration of the mind of a madman, pitting an evil doctor
against a hero falsely incarcerated in a lunatic asylum.
Nosferatu(1922)Nosferatu is the very first vampire movie, baldly plagiarizing the
Dracula story to present Count Orlok, the grotesquely made-up 'Max Schreck',
curling his long fingernails round the limbs of a series of hapless victims.
Described as the vampire movie that actually believes in vampires, Nosferatu gives
us a far more frightening bloodsucker than any of its successors.
3. Horror in the 1930’s.
• Horror movies were reborn in the 1930s. The
advent of sound, as well as changing the whole
nature of cinema forever, had a huge impact on
the horror genre. The horror films of the 1930s are
exotic fairy tales, invariably set in some far-off
land peopled by characters in period costume
speaking in strange accents. Horror was still
essentially looking backwards, drawing upon the
literary classics of the 19th century for their
source material. This is the decade when two
character actors got lucky: Bela Lugosi
(left), and Boris Karloff (right), who brought
Dracula and Frankenstein's Monster respectively
to the screen. Their images are still synonymous
with 1930s horror, they both played a selection of
roles although Karloff proved to be the more
versatile actor; they are enduring paradigms of the
genre, evoking "horror" even in a still photograph.
4. Main horror films of the 30’s.
• Dracula (1931)
• Frankenstein (1931)
• The Mummy (1932)
• Freaks (1932)
• King Kong (1933)
• Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
5. 40’s horror.
Wartime horror movies were purely an American product. Banned in
Britain, with film production curbed throughout the theatre of war in
Europe, horror movies were cranked out by Hollywood solely to amuse
the domestic audience. The studios stuck with tried and tested ideas,
wary of taking risks. While Universal was sliding further and further
towards the bottom of the barrel, over at RKO, they were trying
something new. Producer Val Lewton formed a "horror unit" that turned
out a series of successful entries to the genre between 1942 and 1946.
Lewton was a novelist and former story editor. The RKO movies
pointed in the right direction, and have much in common with some of
the horror thrillers of the 1990s. But it is the bloated, creaking, and well-
flogged corpse of the Universal monster pictures that truly represents
the ending of this first horror movie cycle. However, as any student of
the supernatural will tell you, if a thing looks dead, that's the time to be
most afraid, as you never know what might come shooting out from
beneath the tombstone....
6. 1950’s horror.
• During the 50’s, the popularity of the horror genre
was in decline. The 1950s are also the era when
horror films were relegated well and truly to the B-
movie category. The studios were too busy
incorporating technical changes such as widespread
colour production and trying to meet the challenge
posed by TV. Production companies had no time to
make quality horror pictures. Big stars were
reserved also, meaning that no blockbuster names
could be used for the horror films at the time.
7. 1960’s horror
• The 60’s was a period of change and mass violence. Events
such as the Cuban and Vietnamese wars followed by the
assassination of a president Kennedy showed a change in
what the public deemed as horrible. Horror movies, usually
made for low budgets outside the mainstream studio system,
offered the counterculture opportunities to revisit old taboos
and explore new ways of perceiving sex and violence.
• Films which were popular in the 1960’s:
Blood Feast (1963)
8. 70’s horror.
• The horror scene saw the rise of films which still to this
day, have the power to shock and disturb a mass number
of audiences worldwide. 70’s horror incorporated a new
breed of narrative using characters which audiences could
• Your Dad (The Shining). Your brother (Halloween). Your
husband (The Stepford Wives). Your little boy (The Omen).
Your daughter (The Exorcist). It's the people you see so
often you don't really see them any more (Carrie), are all
representatives of these everyday people being used to
depict horror, giving these films a much more chilling vibe
and also a sense of realism.
• Horror of the 1970’s had very little humor and saw the
removal of the over the top antics previously visited.
9. 80’s horror films.
The horror films of 1980’s saw a similar use of style as
the 70’s. Films such as Hellraiser and A Nightmare On
Elm Street saw an introduction to the new exploration
of onscreen gore with the development of special
effects meaning audiences could be exposed to bloody
violence in a close up mannerism.
80’s horror saw many monster-like antagonists being
exposed to the masses, with everything that had lurked
in the shadows of horror films in the 1950s now being
brought into the light of day. The monsters were finally
out of the closet.
10. 90’s horror
The horror films of the 1990’s saw an exploration into serial killers in a realistic
manner. The film Se7en (shown below) explores the seven deadly sins and can be
considered one of the most effective horror films to date. The focus on the number 7
shows the symmetrical world of horror fiction. Yet Walker confounds his own
conventions, handing his killer over after just FIVE murders.
Being arguably the most remembered horror film of the
1990’s, Scream takes an insight into a variety of horror
elements from years gone by, showing its audience a
masked killer much like horror of the 70’s and 80’s such as
A Nightmare On Elm Street, Friday the 13th, and Halloween.